Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard scored 32 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made enough free throws down the stretch to lift the Houston Rockets over the Boston Celtics, 104-92, on Monday.
Jeremy Lin recorded 16 points and nine assists, James Harden netted 16 points as well and Chandler Parsons returned from a three-game absence to add 14 points for the Rockets, who improved to 2-1 on their four-game road trip.
"It was really good tonight. I thought it was going to be a lot more sore," Parsons said of his injured knee that kept him sidelined.
Avery Bradley poured in 24 points and Jerryd Bayless chipped in with 17, but the Celtics still dropped their ninth straight game -- the club's longest skid in six seasons.
Boston was outscored in the paint, 58-36, and shot just 37.6 percent from the field.
The Rockets missed 15 of their first 20 shots and found themselves down by nine, 21-12, nine minutes in before discovering their usual scoring stroke.
Houston shot 13-of-21 from the field the rest of the half, and a 15-6 run to close the second quarter gave the visitors a 52-43 lead at the break.
Harden and Parsons hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third, stretching Houston's lead to 62-45, and the Rockets cruised into the final frame with an 84-65 cushion.
The closest the Celtics got in the fourth was seven after Bayless's mid-range jumper got them within 97-90 with 2:48 remaining.
Howard split three consecutive trips to the foul line to make it a double- digit game again with 2:12 remaining, and the Rockets held on from there.
"I thought we were good early, and I thought we were good late, and in the middle we were dominated, really the better part of the second and third quarter," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said.
Terrence Jones posted 12 points and 12 rebounds for Houston ... Howard recorded five alley-oop dunks ... Houston pummeled Boston, 109-85, on Nov. 19 and swept the two-game season series for the first time since the 2010-11 season ... Boston last lost nine in a row during a franchise-worst 18-game slide from Jan. 7 - Feb. 11, 2007 ... Houston will close its trek Wednesday at New Orleans.
01/13 23:28:39 ET